Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary, Jackie Cahill has said that the closure of a geriatric ward at St. Patrick’s Hospital, Cashel will add further pressure on the already over-crowded health service in Tipperary.
Deputy Cahill was commenting after the ward was closed following a report from HIQA outlining numerous breaches of its guidelines which will result in a 12-15 bed reduction.
“There are two issues at play. First of all, the HSE has failed to invest in the facility to ensure that the proper standards were met.
“Secondly, it’s clear that this decision to close the ward will have a profound impact on the already chronically overstretched health services in the county.
“St. Patrick’s is used as a step down facility for older people who do not need to be kept in South Tipperary Regional Hospital but who need a lower level of care and support before they can go home.
“This additional pressure on the system will do nothing but damage services for older people in the county and further increase pressure on services.
“Certain public representatives have attempted to wash their hands of the issue, and claim that all will be well when the new facility is opened in 2021.
“What will the older people of Tipperary do for the next four years? Where will they stay when they can no longer be looked after at home, especially when home help hours are getting harder and harder to obtain?
“The Minister needs to come forward urgently with a rehabilitation scheme for the wards that do not meet HIQA standards, and ensure that they are opened as quickly as possible.
“In tandem with this, the HSE and the Minister must source additional bed capacity in other public facilities, or in private homes, to ensure that those who are being moved from St. Patrick’s can remain in their community.
“We have a crisis in how we treat older people in this country.
“Unless we see a real emphasis placed on investing in services for our older citizens, we will fail those who have worked hard for our society,” concluded Cahill.